The 21st Century Baby Schedule New Moms Use, Even If They Won’t Admit it

January 18, 2011 · 4 comments

This post is re-post, pimped with some additional info.  Enjoy!

For our generation, a baby schedule touches a very sensitive nerve. It seems to me that new moms don’t always admit to using a schedule, yet I suspect that most new mothers do use one and use one religiously. As Mel Brooks slyly says in the movie “History of the World Part I” “everyone does it!” Why this shame and secrecy around the use of a baby schedule?

Perhaps the shame stems from the “demand feeding” directive we get from the pediatrician, books, and hospital personnel. If we do not feed on “demand”, are we then not giving our baby what he demands? Are we then not meeting his needs? Are we then a horrible mother?

What is “demand feeding” anyway? According to Dr Spock’s Baby and Childcare, “demand feeding” is really “self-demand feeding” a term coined after an experiment was performed to see what kind of feeding schedule a baby may arrive at if left to his own devices. What the experimenters found was that “By the ages of 2 weeks he (the baby) had settled down to six or seven feedings a day, at rather irregular intervals (breast-fed babies were eating an average of every 2 hours for the first two weeks) . By 10 weeks he had arrived at approximately a 3- to 4-hour schedule.” (I am quoting Dr. Spock’s Baby and Childcare here)  It’s interesting, huh?  A baby left to his own devices will generally fall into a schedule on his won.  Hmmm…

It seems some new moms interpret the “demand feeding” directive by avoiding any kind of baby schedule. According to the origin of “demand feeding” I submit that this was not the intention. I think schedules are terrific and can be necessary for a new mom’s and a new baby’s health! Don’t get me wrong. If absolutely no schedule works for mom and baby, I’m all for it. Whatever works, I say!

If you do decide that a schedule might work for you, however, what is important to remember is to have flexibility with the schedule you employ. All babies are different and let’s face it, each day is different. Sticking to a strict schedule every day from the time your baby is born is going to make you and your baby miserable. Guiding your newborn into a reasonable schedule is going to make everyone happy, especially the new mom, who let’s face it, is the one person who needs to stay happy.

So, stay sane, use your baby schedule, and throw away the guilt. If you are interested in learning more about flexible baby schedules here are some terrific books on the subject:

It Gets Easier and Other Lies We Tell New Mothers! The book for new moms from Yours Truly has a whole chapter set aside about baby schedules. Know it…Learn It …Love it. Also, for a free downloadable baby schedule, visit my website.

On Becoming BabyWise -the highly criticized but truly helpful book on baby schedules. Don’t listen to the critics. This book is a baby-friendly book and covers breastfeeding in detail. Yes, breastfeeding can be done on a schedule.

The No-Cry Sleep Solution – Elizabeth Pantley’s gentle sleep-aid book, a God-send for parents who want to guide their child into good sleep habits without the tears!

Good luck with getting some sleep using a baby schedule!

Tell me how you feel about the instruction – “demand feeding?” Was “demand feeding” a term you heard often?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Tasha October 1, 2011

I personally feel that a baby sleep schedule is extremely important. The problem, or should I say, my problem was finding what schedule worked. At first I tried to time nap times according to what her bedtime was going to be. I think that was my first mistake. I later learned that it was better if I paid closed attention to my daughter as opposed to watching the clock. Now, at 14 months, we seem to be doing alright. My daughter is getting between 13 and 14 hours of sleep each day, and I think that’s perfect.


Claudine October 7, 2011

Baby schedules are tricky things. I think your conclusion is right that you have to find a schedule that works for you and your family and helps with sleep and doesn’t drive the family crazy! I have a general baby schedule on my site that you can download for free right here.


Kim September 8, 2013

I’m unable to download a copy of the schedule from your site and I’m very interested. Can you help?


Claudine September 9, 2013

Hi there, Sorry about that…the site is in the process of getting merged with the blog. I will send the baby schedule to your email address!


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